His & Hers

Richard Chai, another living evident to the rising prominence of Asians in today’s fashion, entertainment, political, etc industries. Frequently associated with the other Asian designers such as Derek Lam and Philip Lim, Behnaz Sarafpour, etc, Richard Chai stands out for his clothes’ simplicity yet quirky aesthetics. Of korean descent, his tastes for simple lines and cuts are of no questioning. Yet, between the lines of Asian sophistication lives an English “Urbanist”.

To be honest, I’m the last person in the world that anyone would expect to be fashion-forward. So my understanding of Richard Chai’s collections and style is limited. Yet, his Spring 2012 collection screams out to me not only through it’s floral prints, bright colours (mainly the all-so-bold use of orange) and straight lines but his skillful tactics of layering. Looking closer into his collection, Chai has skillfully fooled the “Naked Eyes”.

His collection analogizes a harmonious natural environment. This is the hidden gem of his collection. The layerings within his collection tend to work as an extension to his clothes. Not only does this help to minimize the “noise” created from the floral prints and bright colours, it tend to accentuate the body features that most are self-conscious of.

Compare him to other Asian designers, but I would say, Chai has created a name of his own not just through his similarity to the NOW Asian fashion designers; rather, his designs are one that resolves beauty through an Asian and English fusion.


The classic Jeans combination posed with subtle elegance. Fashion here shows the ability to wear the clothes and surrounding rather than the opposite.

A June article by The Guardian has once again invoked a discussion on the creations of stereotypes and racism within today’s media (which is also discussed in “threadbared” article on “The Racial Construction of Preppiness”). Ralph Lauren “has spent nearly 50 years defining and refining preppiness. Its website is full of vomtastic talk of “American style” and “inviting people to take part in our dream”; the advertising is full of clean-cut boys starring in what could be a burlesque versions of The Great Gatsby”. Their polo shirts is still an all-time favourite of many who sees the need to flaunt one’s status and “bank acount”. The above photograph is of an alleged drug trafficker, Edgar Valdez Vliiareal, wearing a green Ralph Lauren Polo shirt while being escorted by armed Mexican federal officers dressed in riot gear. The Guardian identifies this image as an outlaw to Ralph Lauren’s promotional image -a prestige and pristine background- stereotyping Mexicans with “thick-set and stubbly drug dealers”, outlawing the prospects of other races, particularly Americans, with the “decency” to be drug dealers. The use of clothes today plays an important role in stereotyping one into a particular category. Asians tend to stick to a particular style, afraid of breaking out of the “peer pressure bubble”. Style is not about trend-following. You are the trend.